1964-11-09 - Interrogating a Jar
Summary: In which a captured soul is made to speak… until things go wrong.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
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constantine lamont chance 

There needs to be an interrogation, and perhaps some information to tug out of a certain jar. Calls were made, and people gather once again to see what it is they can get out of these crazy cultists. Chance for his part arrives with his black mask since he came by way of the sky, but the mask comes off the moment he's invited within, and he nods around, "Not sure how much help I'll be in questioning a …whatever it is now, the thing in the jar, but I am starting to pick up some stuff."

So, there's Lamont. Who is….well, squeezing information out of unwilling minds is very much in his bailiwick. So he's there in his usual neat suit, the dark opal ring agleam on one slender finger.

Constantine had an interrogation to do. This meant possible use for backup or at least perspective. Chance had a wider range of intel and Lamont had experience… well pulling his ass out of a deep fryer when it was needed and perspective in other arenas. "Evening, chaps. Glad you ould make it. Lamont, Chance, you remember one another well enough, yeah?"

"Enough." Chance nods to Constantine with a slight nod of his head for Lamont a moment after, though he eyes his own mask for a long moment, "I got to tell you wearing a mask feels a whole lot weirder lately then it did back when I was just getting my vigilante on." He looks beween them then for a long moment, "I've been doing some sleuthing, and don't have any leads yet— primarily because I don't exactly know where to begin in looking for a cult that possesses people. But my feelers are out and people have been seeing some people in Halloween masks after Halloween late at night in the Bronx. That's all I have. Soo.. How do we interrogate a jar?"

"Depends on how much memory and volition is left, or had to begin with," Lamont offers, quietly. "I've seen something similar of late - a being from the outer darkness, trying to make its way in, using human minds as a path."

Constantine furrowed his brow and frowned at Lamont, "You can't… you can't just go have tea like a normal person. You are just rubbish at retirement you know that?" Says the unaging 60 year old also neck deep in this. You think they might be related or is this something non-terresterial?" These questions need be answered and the man in teh wrinkled suit smelling of stale smoke and… lemon?! raked his fingers through his cropped blonde hair. "Right, so the Bronx could be next target? Possible nexus point? Let's find out."

Outer darkness? Chance blinks slowly, looking between the two, and deciding after what he's seen, they aren't completely crazy. Just barely he decides that, just barely, "I'm not sure yet, its just something I can look into." He looks to the jar, "Here's what I want to know. These cultists have their souls in masks, right? Whoever wears the mask is possessed. Now, someone gave this girl's mask to the kid, used some kind of mind control to make him wear it. This someone was, himself, wearing a mask— possibly possessing a body. Do you get where I'm going with this? At some point someone, who is not wearing a mask and possessed, had to start this. They had to pick a mask up from whereever it is, and has a soul in it, and give it to someone… and it _can't_ be this Lord of Chains guy because I'm pretty sure I got out of it that they _raised_ him from the dead. People in masks did. Where did the chain of custody for the masks start?"

The Shadow slants one of those dry looks at Constantine. "Circumstances have denied me a peaceful retirement," and there's a hint of wicked humor in the low voice. He nods to Chance. "Quite likely the original posesssing spirit. I can attempt to follow the chain back, depending on what this mind knows. And presumably it, in turn, uses masks and bodies to raise other spirits and let them ride masks."

Constantine smiled beatifically to Lamont. FOr once, John Constantine was not that reason to be denied peace in one's life and he was reveling in it. Still the stoic amusement was short lived as long strides took him idly around the workshop floor. The theory was interesting but something wasn't fitting. The back of his knuckles brushed the bottom of his stubble jaw thoughtfully. "Problem with that. Necromatic one, mate, and that being that soul that was in that mask? It was alive. Alive when it went in and out which to mein the area of spiritual transferrance pre and post-mordem? Would indicate that the original host was not only alive at teh time but silling and performing a spiritual inhabitation of these vessals. Whiiiich to me? If you ask and I know you love that part, says they are promised immortality, but as what and not who. Spirit comign to teh forefront when worn like a caul.. Shapeless form that needs a body and can act when draped on one."

Frowning, Chance crosses his arms over his chest, "So… _how_ do we interrogate a ghost in a jar?" he asks, still not clear on that procedure, though he doesn't at all like the talk of sacrifices and dark things. He looks to Lamont, ""I hope you know how, because besides killing them— and suddenly killing them doesn't seem right since the folks they're riding seem unwilling targets— I'm no good at this stuff."

"Let me try to make contact," The Shadow's been nodding along to John's theories. That information - that these were souls stolen from living bodies is enough to make him look even grimmer. "And I have no desire to destroy them. We will not kill the host bodies when we find them." Without further ado, he's closing his eyes, expression going inward turned and intent, reaching for the mind contained there.

Constantine arched an eyebrow,not because of doubt, but from interest. Answering Chance's question he offered, "Failing that? We set up a ritual and force the soul to become…pliable and more forthcoming with answers. In short if he can't reach its consciousness, I'll make its consciousness reach us."

Chance falls silent, blinking slowly at Constantine, but… This is so not the private eye's field of expertise, "Ask about who _didn't_ have to wear a mask started this. It couldn't have been this.. Ishad fellow, because masked people raised him."

His expression goes pinched, pained - like he's trying to pick a lock with the wrong tools. This isn't like trying to force the usual foolish mortal mind. Lamont's voice is soft, as he tries to sort through the information. "She was originally Samantha. She thinks of herself as a New Mask. No doubt one of the recently possessed. The name of her maker is Forever in Bloom, an Old Mask, the Exalted. First taken, first given, the first awakened by….the Custodians? The Older masks know the Calling Rite - they're the ones who'll waken Clad in Chains. And the ones who make the new Masks. One with the House…..she chose this. Chose to die in the circle…..I…I can see Forever in Bloom. AN old woman, an ivory mask." Then he's reaching again for those names of Chance's, trying to sort through diffuse thought and memories.

Constantine walked over and reached out a hand to grip Lamont's; not roughly but as an anchor to help him remember where he is to gather his greater sense of equilibrium. "Sounds like the one we had similar visions of earlier. So, my suspiscions were right. She chose to sacrifice herself from a physical state to be.. in… that. Well it explains why she fought like hell when I ripped her out of it." He went and jostles the jar. "You made bad life choices there, cupcake. You got a fel deal."

"She's one of…. the possessors, not the possessed, isn't she? What do they *want*? I mean they're stealing people for their powers, I get that, but what's the end-game? Who would want to live as a … mask. It seems awkward. What I don't get is how its not super obvious who the bad guys are. Just go around town: Got a mask? Hit them on the head, sort it out later." Chance looks over to Constantine then, "What do we do with her now?"

Constantine pressed his fingertips together and thought deeply on that. "FOr now? For now we leave her in teh jar. Its warded and she won't be coming out of that anytime soon. Beyond that I need to look into a few things but we have means of getting her to where she's supposed to be. I'll work on that. for now? The living."

Not a lot of color in Lamont's face at the best of times. But he pales, as he listens in, mute. "Ishad….this Ishad. They seek powers. Not just occult abilities, but even the mutants. They will give to those who yield, like she did….or take from those who have them already. When Ishad has enough…the Age of Wonders will come. The world will be remade as he pleases." A slow intake of breath. "They have tried repeatedly, but up until now, all the mysteries they seek have been held by magicians, and magicians are hard to defeat. Now….the mutants, the new powers…..they're easy prey." Sweat's on his brow….and there's genuine fear in his voice. "They share the powers they take, amongst the other believers."

Chance looks _very_ grim at that; he knows mutant powers, and this is a threat that is far more visceral then soul-stealing and possession and dark powers… He frowns, reaching behind, pulling out one of his batons. A twitch of a mechanism and a blade emerges from the end, "They aren't stealing souls and powers of my people, not while I live."

The jar is warded, yes.

There's not a power any necromancer has that could break through John's wards in this, likely.

But something changes. A reverberation in the air. A whisper that is unheard, at the very edge of hearing. And then, from the jar, a scream.

It shakes. The wards hold. Thirst for Glory is contained.

But the psychic scream has her voice, to Lamont's mind.

To John's eyes, her soul within the jar blazes with light— but its not the soul. Its markings carved into her soul that come to life, and they begin to burn. They don't break her free.

But those markings are fueled by her very own soul itself. There's nothing crossing the wards.

But her soul burns from the inside out.

Constantine took out chalk and drew more wards on the jar which in a way might be mistaken as circuitry someday but instead were an Inca quipu drawn instead of string tied. He looked up from teh jar pausing wihth that moment of clarity from eacademic scrutiny. "Chance, so long as we have breath, it won't stand, mate. Not while I'm still fekking standing." Bold words from a man that's been known to walk away.

There was that scream and in the same breath John passed his hand over one of the lit candles on teh table lighting his hand on fire and whten arcing it to the other and back again containing the jar in a ring of fire that burned bighter than it had reason to. Then again fire shouldn't hover int eh air either so there was that. The words came quick, sharp and decisive looking to subdue the entity inside to make sure it stayed right where it was.

It makes Lamont's body spasm, jerk - he's still in link with that confined soul, and the scream resonates between his ears. And then she's burning, burning….there's a moment where he can feel it in sympathy, before he abruptly slams the link closed. "John!" he says, trying to keep his feet, suddenly unsteady. But Constantine's at least trying to have it in hand.

|ROLL| Constantine +rolls 1d100 for: 19

|ROLL| Chance +rolls 1d100 for: 48

The soul burns: the soul screams. It can be felt in everyone's mind, and though contained, and though the burning slows— slightly— under Constantine's magic, the ancient, strange symbols continue to burn. Soon the soul jar has nothing left in it but a strange aura of unfamiliar necromancy that _might_ be worth investigating. But of the soul? It is utterly destroyed. It didn't escape, it didn't even really try.

Chance looks haunted, "Did that… girl, just die? If a soul can be said to die? Aren't souls eternal? Isn't that the point of having them?"

Constantine was actually struggling with the ritual. The word were falling steady like a cadence that was giving him pushbback. It wasn't yelling at the forces beyond, it was reaching out, grabing ahold of thm ,and pplaying tug-o-war as someone's life depended on it. It did and he couldn't stop it. Ona whole other level it just pained him and he just fought it withthe fire getting brighter and hotteruntil the soul screamed out and not long after Johnclosed his hands into fists killing the flames including the candles on teh table that were burning with. Closed fists pressed to teh surface of the solid wood slab worktable; spent and angry.

Lamont has been a practicing Buddhist of a very odd sort for decades. Longer than these two have been alive, most likely. But now he does something John's seen him do perhaps once before: he crosses himself, and breathes a prayer in Latin. No occult cadence, a simple Hail Mary. "They can be destroyed," he says, in a flat, colorless voice. "It is exceedingly hard to do, nearly impossible….but it is very nearly always the province of Gods." He's pale as paper, eyes huge.

"I feel like I'm not entirely grasping this situation, but the rough sort of shape I'm picturing out of this, is that we're maybe kind of fucked." remarks Chance with a very grave tone of voice, crossing his arms over his chest, "I think the only advantage we have is that taking the masks off renders the individual guys… powerless. The masks themselves don't seem to be able to make someone want to wear them: someone else has to do that."

Constantine still had his head ringing and he was still catching his breath. He looked to Lamont with a guarded concernt, "Kent?" Why they'd have to go there or what ties it had to that place and apparently London who knows. Lamont would know that question differently, as John checked in with him. He took a deep breatha nd closed hi eyes. He couldn't save her and it wasn't a new story to him and he wished- you knwow what, it'll have to be the unharmed mutants instead. it was a disappointing blow but he already started to brick himself up to guard against another lost battle. "It's a different writ on Necromancy that we honestly haven't happened across before. It's… formitable. Ipulled the soul from teh mask but like your auto? The battery only lasts so long without a charge it seems. We can, and I will need to find more for practice, but they can be separated, and cut lose from their foci? Will not be able to be sustained. and … Chance no all souls go somewhere." He pointed faguely at the door that had a signaugmented by Strange that read: Do not open for forever. "Some souls unravel to the abyss. They can be eated. Immortal until acted upon by an outside force, mate." Standing up he walked over to Lamont because Lamont would give him the cursory bullshit 'I'm fine, John' which is no less than he'd do so really he skipped the formality of asking and just looked in on him. A slow nod came of approval as Lamont gathered himself back together. It was to Chance he said, "Simply put very stylized necromancer is talking people into this giving them immortality in a new form. We need to deconstruct the process a bit further but that was… illuminating."

"John, what a master of understatement you are," Lamont says, drily. But he seems to be recovering, even if there's fear sweat on his temples.

"So the mask… somehow powers the soul? I would have guessed that it would be the other way around. BUt I don't know anything about this stuff." Chance isn't sure he likes hearing about the Abyss, wrinkling his nose, "I kind of liked being more or less a lapsed catholic." He sighs, "I apparently need to go to confession."

Constantine gave Lamont a flat look. "I'm British, Cranston. It's our birthright." Three cheers for dry humor. Footsteps crossed over to dig out a journal that wa blank enough to take annotations in. "Well we need to find out more about this bloke. On the mask? It's sort of giving the soul substance to reside in sans a body but lacks form. As I said It gets drapped on something alive and takes control of it not unlike a driver being given a car. As for confession you'll likely hate me if I tell you there's not much of a point. A- they pretty much already know. b- depending on what deity for you perscribe to? They may or may not be in. It's a real craps shoot these days but the Preacher'll be back soon if you want ot give it a go." He seemed utterly indifferent on teh concept. "Yes. they can be killed, diestroyed. Disaperated. Redeemed potentially." Oddly optimistic for him.

Lamont allows, in that low drawl, "Well, that's something, I suppose." He slants a look at Chance. "I feel the urge to go to confession myself, and I haven't done that in fifty years."

Chance eyes Constantine a moment, shrugging, "See, its not about them not knowing, its about getting absolution. The priests are empowered to declare you forgiven and its supposed to stick. Lapsed catholic." He shrugs, but then shakes his head slowly on the revelation ont he masks. He just… doesn't think in terms of magic, but he's slowly learning, "Okay. So. What is our next step?" He nods understandingly over to Lamont.

Constantine squnt to Lamont and crooked a faint grin, "So around the time you pulled my arse out of the fryer?" No he really didn't look older than late thirties. Man, magic was good for the skin apparently. "something something forgive me what have I done." He felt he was allowed to have some fun of it at his own expence. A hand clasped Lamont on the shoulder. He was not hale and hardy necessarily, but was well enough. "Our next step is to find out where their patters would take them. Our focus should be at least to make sure they're not nabbing more innocent people to use as host. Now we know they were using some manner of suggestion. Lamont, I'm up for ideas on that one and how we can detect or prevent this."

"About then, yes," Lamont sighs. "I can likely it undo it on individuals. Preventing it other than by breaking the masks themselves…."

"I'll follow my lead, and get back in touch with you. But I should leave you two to plan the mystical thing, I'm wasted on that." Chance remarks, pursing his lips a moment.

Constantine looked up to Chance and looked earnestly apologetic, "Oy. Look this, aaaah, I appreciate this is all very strange to you. We're going to do all we can to help these people from preying on yours, mate. You come up with anything feel free to ring me up. You need help on teh ground likewise, give us a look up for that too."

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